London: Don’t panic. That was the message of Arsene Wenger on Tuesday after Arsenal slipped to a second successive home defeat, a second blow to their irresistible autumn momentum. Following victories for Borussia Dortmund last week and Chelsea, the old maxim that the Gunners are never more than three games away from a crisis could well be borne out this Saturday when they face in-form Liverpool at home.
But despite being outplayed by their London rivals, Wenger urged calm. “Let’s not go too quick to conclusions,” he said. “If you take the points we have made since January 1, it’s more than anyone else. On a longer distance, you’ll see more of the quality of the team than in the last two games.
“It’s difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week, but the mistakes are so big they can be corrected. We have to keep the basis of our game and go into the next one.
“You can’t go to conclusions too quickly. We have [Theo] Walcott and [Lukas] Podolski out, players who have a big impact defensively. If you put them in, it’s a completely different position in the team.”
Did these two defeats — separated, of course by winning at Crystal Palace on Saturday — raise the stakes before the Liverpool game?
“Look, in football it’s always difficult to be definite,” Wenger said. “People go quickly to definite conclusions. After the first game against Aston Villa [a 3-1 defeat] we were relegated. Today we are in a strong position in the league.”